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How is the Mainstream Gaming Industry doing today?

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Game ONWell it’s doing terribly. And I mean TERRIBLY.

DRM is now shorthand for developers to say: “We don’t care about your experience, we just want your money”.

Most mainstream publishers, parched of inspiration, have yet to release new IP that won’t be completely ripped apart by the critics and customers alike.

The MAINSTREAM game industry, that is, the collective, overarching entity that churns out video games for the greater public’s enjoyment is pretty much targeting ONE demographic and appealing to ONE taste.

Popular IP like Assassin’s Creed has abandoned it’s sly, stabby roots and has joined the Call Of Duty/Medal Of Honor/Battlefield/Igiveupwhyaretheresomany$%@$#$%shooters?! mentality of blowing up anything that moves…also there’s a sequel every year. It’s never going to end. Ever.

Developers who once just marketed (read: stretched the truth) their games to us, now openly LIE (read: market) about the finished product to get us to pre-order said, broken product.

Most mainstream developers have set unrealistically high goals for themselves in terms of budget and technology and projected profits, prompting a paranoid chicken run across the playing field, resulting in an unceremonious dog-pile onto a bandwagon. Translation: Games are starting to look awful similar these days because many designers don’t know what they should do with the tools they’ve been given. You wouldn’t entrust experiments using the large hadron collider to the care of a chimpanzee, would you?

chimpthinkDM0512_468x487

They told me to make quark-gluon plasma using colliding lead nuclei. Alas, I could only fling poop.

Barring note-worthy successes in recent years, many just CANNOT see any new MAINSTREAM IP succeeding in the near future.

BUT, for you optimists dead-set on putting us pessismists down, I’ll just get this out of the way:
The fact remains that people love games. Some people love ’em more than others. To the point that some are so dedicated to their work, that no matter what anyone else says, there are gonna be games made today, tomorrow and for a long time coming. Heck, some of these games are might even be free! Well, not necessarily, but you get what I’m trying to say…
The thing is, much like most songwriters wrote songs so as to listen to something they might not otherwise hear, game designers are gamers who make games that they might not otherwise be able to play. In the presence of more of the same thing, something different might rear its beautiful, beautiful head.

A participant in the Ugly Competition, organised by the Txosna Moskotarrak, performs during the Great Week fiestas in Bilbao

…or its great personality

Either way, there are still indie (independent) developers, willing to put time and effort into making games that stray from financial models that put the customer’s upper jaw on the curb while the developer takes on the ever-delightful role of the boot.

I LIKE games, what about you? Oh that’s fine, I’ll just sit here then…

With the sad state of affairs we appear to be chest-deep in, the fact is that people like to play games. With these people come individuals who go ahead and study game design. We have online stores that cater to EVERYONE’S needs such as: Steam, Desura, Indiedb, GOG, and more. While the industry seems to be one bad game away from an industry crash similar to the one 1983, there will still be games made for those who are willing to play them. Sure the mainstream industry seems to be more or less catering to the whims of 12-year olds and frat boys, but as long as there is a need, it will be fulfilled.

In short, yes. The mainstream game industry is doing terribly. But every cloud does have its silver lining, and while many have given up on mainstream publishers, few have given up on games.

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